We’ve been privy to three generations of heroes:
1. The icons of old were those who “owned or controlled” the most capital – money, assets and people. Remember those early industrialists (think Rockfeller for instance) whose legendary status emanated from their skills managing capital best in those times? It is of course a tribute to many of these great minds that they were also philanthropic (and their successors continue the spirit of giving) – Rockefeller/ Carnegie/ Tatas – you get the idea!
2. Then there was the time when those who had the ability to own the “information flow” were the kings. Newspapers, Radio and TV were the guys who gave us gospel truths. We followed these pied pipers with our wallets – and minds. This was the period when the media and advertising companies and TRP was truly king. The Murdoch empire springs to mind in this context, dosent it
3. Today, the folks who have the most “reach” seem to be the “new gods”. Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, amazon, google, apple – its an almost frenetic race to capture the most reach. The Sharing economy has thrown up new heroes – these guys dont necessarily own the message – they are but facilitators/ platforms where people share stuff/ experiences – and the more authenticitic the platform allows the participants to be, the more do people flock there. Think how Amazon’s user reviews and Airbnb’s shared rentals work – and this becomes very clear?
So what’s the next step of evolution? I have no idea – I do know though that it’s going to be exciting. That said, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the “reaching out” of today evolved into a “reaching within” movement tomorrow – an evolution that allowed each of us to understand ourselves better and make truly authentic choices and a sustainable world? Of course the RoI then would be a greener, happier, world!